'Ballot Eats the Bullet' at the Vortex
"I feel like the voice that's silenced in America is the black woman," says writer/director Zell Miller III about his new show Ballot Eats the Bullet.
"The Vortex wanted me to create something that would be political around this time," Miller says. "And for me, being a black person in America is a political statement, and to be a black woman, to me, is the biggest political statement that you can make."
In creating a show that aims to give a voice to black women, Miller found himself in a complicated place, being as he's not a woman himself. "This has been one of the most difficult and trying things I've ever done," he says. "I had to ask myself questions... 'Why are you writing for women? Who are you to say what's in a black woman's heart?'"
After some encouragement from his mentor, Laurie Carlos, Miller moved ahead with the project, enlisting help from fellow writers Lisa B. Thompson, Anne Maria Wynter, and Ebony Stewart. He also sought input from his six-woman cast (Sade M. Jones, Breaion S. King, Chelsea Manasseri, Kera Blay, M'Kenzie Flakes, and Valoneecia Tolbert) to make sure that all the vignettes in the piece felt authentic. "A lot of the pieces, I'm laughing, I'm crying," says perfomer Kera Blay. "It really does speak to the experience of being a black woman in America."